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BlackBerry is finally giving up on smartphones and focusing on enterprise software

Christian de Looper

The Priv, BlackBerry’s first real stab at an Android-based phone, is now being updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The update is a little overdue — in fact, the Priv launched a month after Android 6.0 Marshmallow was released. It’s now six months later, and we’re finally getting a taste of Marshmallow on our BlackBerry.

Related: BlackBerry CEO addresses story that Canadian police have its global encryption key

Unfortunately, the Priv is one of not-too-many devices running Marshmallow. As of April 4, only 4.6 percent of Android devices were running Marshmallow, highlighting how fragmented the Android ecosystem really is.

Six months is quite a long time to push out an update, especially considering the fact that the Priv is BlackBerry’s only Android phone. HTC and Samsung flagships got an update for Marshmallow back in January or February, and some of LG’s phones got the update as far back as October.

Of course, that doesn’t mean BlackBerry hasn’t been doing anything — the company has been doing great on Google’s security update program, which involves updating devices on a monthly basis to patch any security issues that might exist in the software. This is despite the fact that the Priv is running an older version of Android.

Marshmallow brings a number of great features to the Priv, including user-controllable permissions, something that was ironically not present in the original Priv considering the fact that ‘Priv’ stands for privacy.

The update itself is rolling out starting now, however, keep in mind that the update will first target unlocked phones. T-Mobile has been offering the security updates in a timely manner, while AT&T has largely been blocking them. Carrier versions of the Priv will get the update starting May 3, but if you bought the device through AT&T, you may have to wait a while.

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The BlackBerry we know and love may be well and truly dead. It seems as though the company is finally turning away from the smartphone business, which it has been flailing in for some time now, and focusing its attention on enterprise software.

In fact, according to global sales chief Carl Wiese, BlackBerry is more than hitting its goals in the enterprise software market, making the shift one that makes sense for the company.

Related: BlackBerry CEO addresses story that Canadian police have its global encryption key

“On conference calls last year almost all of the questions from financial analysts would be about the phones. And when people said we wanted $500 million revenue from software they were crazy,” said Wiese in an interview with The Register. “Now we’ve made that target and half the questions are about enterprise software.”

Of course, much of the attention shift to enterprise has to do with BlackBerry’s acquisition of rival company Good, which will be used for software development going forward. Not only that, but Good’s proprietary network will be folded into BlackBerry’s own network, giving it a serious boost.

BlackBerry is continually adding acquisitions to its list of companies, hoping to boost its standings in the enterprise software business and offer an increasing number of products for its customers. Not only that, but its BES12 software has been gaining quite a bit of traction among corporate clients.

It makes sense for BlackBerry to turn its focus away from the smartphone market. The company, which was once the king of the smartphone, has been struggling to meet sales goals of any kind over the past few years, ever since the 2007 launch of the iPhone. One thing is for sure — while BlackBerry may still be releasing smartphones, the dream of clawing its way back into the smartphone industry seems to be dying. It’s well past time that BlackBerry look for other options.

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